Friday, January 28, 2011

You've Got All the Time in the World

I was incredulous to receive the letter from my mother asking me when I was going to stop bouncing around and settle down.

I was 23. Since graduating college, I had lived (and worked) in San Diego, Boston, San Diego again, and then the Bay Area. Of course, the path was all about a boy. We met. He lived in San Diego but first had to finish up his senior year at Harvard (thus Boston) and then go on to law school at UC-Berkeley (thus the Bay Area).

I was incredulous.

I was 23 for crying out loud! Why did I have to settle down? What the hell? I was only 23.

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There is a magnet school of the arts school within a larger high school in our county. A few weeks ago, I suggested to Eldest that he consider trying to get into the creative writing discipline. His writing is magnificent. Everything he turns into his GATE program English teachers is met with A++ grades and oozing praise. It seems like a slam dunk for him to do it.

There's a portfolio to prepare. There's an application to submit. There's an interview to do. And there was a shadow day yesterday. He followed a high school student in the program around all day, while I spent more than three hours touring the different arts classrooms, hearing from the teachers, listening to the administrators and being totally awed with everything that they do.

That slam dunk? That was in my eyes. Not his.

He is a fabulous writer but it's not something he is passionate about. It is "just" something at which he excels.

When the day was done, he was left really excited about attending high school. And he was left feeling so saddened that he doesn't know what he's going to do with his life.

He is only 14.

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Damn it. We're not supposed to know what we're going to do with our lives at 14 and still in middle school. Nor at 23 and so recently out of college. We're supposed to be open to anything at those ages. And our mothers should know that better than anyone.


Michele R said...

I agree. We want them to be independent but they can still have an open mind. My 9th grader was nervous in 8th grade about going into 9th grade. (Oh and it is so so much better than middle school!!!!!) But they need to know that there are many paths to take and they don't have to know it in high school.

Patois42 said...

Michele, I'm so glad 9th grade is so much better. Eldest was thrilled to be on the high school campus -- and to be confused as a high schooler at the college fair he when along to while shadowing -- but he really was so upset that he didn't know what he wanted to do with his life, as if he's far behind everyone else.

Anonymous said...

That he isn't "passionate" about it NOW doesn't mean he won't be later, or that he wouldn't enjoy being in the program. I'm assuming they teach him other cool subjects besides creative writing. I didn't really discover that writing was my passion until I was in my mid-thirties! And I remember (with humor) in college, I would come home every semester and declare I had found my "calling" -- Greek Literature, Acting, Shakespearean Literature, etc. So, as you know, Eldest isn't behind at all! Think I should send him an email about that? (A bit too long for a text!). Love, Ginny

Patois42 said...

Actually, dear Eldest's favorite aunt, he's home from school today, so give him a call!

Jeni said...

Hell's Bells! I'm now 66 years old and still don't know what my "passion" is? All through grade school and until my senior year in H.S., I wanted to be a nurse. Then, I decided I wanted to be a teacher but never got around to going to college until I was 46 and wanted then, to be a counselor of some type. In between, I worked, eventually married then divorced, had three children that I raised pretty much by myself except for the 8 years of my marriage and now, the only things that register passion, if you will, within me are my grandchildren, kids and embroidery -in that order too. So tell me again when it was -or is -that I should settle down and know what I want to do with my life anyway? Is there ever really a set time to know that?


I mentioned to Eldest the other night that I had a fairly wide open day Friday. Writer that he is, he wondered if I would perhaps like a wri...